In Brent Staples’ "Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Space," Staples describes the issues, stereotypes, and criticisms he faces being a black man in public surroundings. Staples initiates his perspective by introducing the audience in to thinking he is committing a crime, but eventually reveals how the actions taken towards him are because of the fear linked to his labelled stereotypes of being rapists, gangsters and muggers. Staples continues to unfold the audience from a 20 year old experience and sheds light onto how regardless of proving his survival compared to the other stereotypical blacks with his education levels and work ethics being in the modern era, he is still in the same plight. Although Staples relates such burdens
In “Black Men and Public Spaces”, Brent Staples is in his early twenties and is faced with the menacing crime of being a black man in the 1970’s. As Staples likes to walk the streets at night due to his insomnia, every stranger that comes close enough to realize that he’s a tall black man lets their fear take control of them as they avoid him to the point of fleeing. To the eyes of people (mainly women) at night, he was no different from any other thug or criminal who prowls the street. Having moved to New York, and growing accustomed to being perceived as a threat, Staples learned to properly give people their space to intimidate them less as he walks the streets. Despite being a journalist, he has even had security called in on him at a
Staples starts the essay writing about how his skin color has a negative change on the public perspective. “Black Men in Public Spaces,” written in December 1986 by Brent Staples, tells about his life in Illinois as a frequent “night walker.” He starts
Fueled by fear and ignorance, racism has corrupted the hearts of mankind throughout history. In the mid-1970’s, Brent Staples discovered such prejudice toward black men for merely being present in public. Staples wrote an essay describing how he could not even walk down the street normally, people, especially women, would stray away from him out of terror. Staples demonstrates his understanding of this fearful discrimination through his narrative structure, selection of detail, and manipulation of language.
The black men throughout history has always had a negative perceived image of them by those in power. The idea that one’s skin give others pre-deceived notions about them. Stereotypes of black people only illustrates them as negative things in a society. The strong perpetuated stereotypes of black people create a fear based off their image. Staples states his experience “She cast back a worried glance. To her,
Over the years, our generations’ stereotypical views over the issue on young black males being viewed as dangerous has grown significantly. There are different reasons why these stereotypes occur in our society. People feel on edge when running into them in dark passageways, whenever it’s late at night. Also, while they’re sitting at red lights and notice someone walking towards their cars, they instantly initiate down the door locks. People think stereotyping black men this way keeps them safer because they assume the worst. However; other people disagree with instantly judging who they see around them, it hurts more people as well as themselves by viewing black men this way. Brent Staples, the author of “Black Men and Public Spaces,” claims that he’s considered a stereotypical black criminal. In his essay, Staples succeeds because he successfully appeals to people’s emotions, is an expert on human behavior, creates common ground and offers a logical solution.
Staples explains “The ability to alter public space in ugly ways” shows people discriminating towards him. People in his surroundings’ sees him as a bad influence because of his black. He is mistreated in many ways from people thinking he is a mugger and a rapist. Many people tend to misjudge him because he is black. Misjudging can be influenced by how other people see them differently due to racist discrimination. People have mistaken him for a bad person and people see the fear in him. Due to discrimination towards Staples, there is the possibility of death and weapons used on him.
Staples successfully begins by not only admitting the possible faults in his practiced race but also by understanding the perspective of the one who fear them. Black males being opened to more violence because of the environment they're raised in are labeled to be more likely to cause harm or committing crime towards women but Staples asks why that issue changes the outlook of
Brent Staples use of pathos though invoking a sad emotion that is invoked through me due to the situations he is put through with police, and people in general. “I could cross in front of a car stopped a traffic light and elicit the thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk of the driver – black, white, male, or female- hammering down the door locks” (174). This also invokes some anger at those people who are simply rude. “Then there were the standard unpleasantries with policemen, doormen, bouncers, cabdrivers, and others whose business it is to screen out troublesome individuals before there is any nastiness” (174). These instances not only show how only Staples was treated but how all of the black community was being treated in a dark era in American history. “The fearsomeness mistakenly attributed to me in public places often has a perilous flavor.”
Brent Staples is an author and editorial writer for the New York Times. His writing is mostly on political issues, cultural issues and controversies including races. In one of his essay written in 1986 which was published in Ms. Magazine “Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Space,” Brent Staples explains about his personal experience being black in an American society. Author wants his reader to understand that we are living in a culture with is constantly becoming violent and dangerous. Staples in his essay is gathering sympathy from his audience. He explains his thesis throughout the essay describing different incidents which took place in his life. Staples wants his audience to know how racial stereotypes has affected him as well as many other peoples like him and forced him to change so that he is not misunderstood by people and can prove himself fearless for others.
Primarily, this paper is structured as a cause and effect essay as he narrates his personal experience, reinforcing his message and making the audience realize his viewpoints. In his article, Staples takes out all of his frustrations of being treated as a criminal throughout the passage. Firstly, Staples express the fear a white woman faced when she felt a young,broad six feet two inches black man with a beard and billowing hair was menacingly close. He continues by stating more incidents he experienced as a teenager, as a journalist and so on where people (mostly women) panicked imagining him as a mugger or a rapist. Furthermore, the author
In Brent Staples’ life, he has had many life experiences dealing with racism and has experienced racism first hand. Relaying these personal experiences is what he chose to write about in his essay. A life experience that Brent Staples shared is, “My first victim was a woman - white, well dressed, probably in her early twenties. I came upon her late one evening on a deserted street in Hyde Park, a relatively affluent neighbourhood in an otherwise mean, impoverished section of Chicago…. She cast back a worried glance. To her, the youngish black man – a broad six feet two inches with a beard and billowing hair, both hands shoved into he pockets of a bulky military jacket-seemed menacingly close. After a few more quick glimpses, she picked up her pace and was soon running in earnest. Within seconds she disappeared into a cross street.” (Staples
They squirmed, pencils tapping their desks anxiously; none of their papers contained more than five names. Eventually, all thirteen pairs of eyes made their way from the papers, to the faces of their friends, and eventually, they restlessly shifted over to me and stopped. “This is hard,” whined one seventh grade voice. Another chimed in, “It’s all the same, I can’t think of any more.” The question I had asked was simple: “Please list as many young African American males that you see on TV as possible.”
Similar to Dumas’ struggle in America as an Iranian, Brent Staples’ “Black Men and Public Space” details the struggle of being a black man in America. There are countless stereotypes implanted in the minds of Americans of the typical black person, aggressive, dishonest, ruthless, and overall ill intentioned. The first encounter with this racist outlook on blacks Staples had was in a wealthier area of downbeat Chicago, who began to appear worrisome and soon after proceeded to run from the author, who had done nothing intentionally to provoke fear in her. I agree that women should always place their safety as their first priority and should remove themselves from any situation in which they find themselves uncomfortable or at risk, but if blacks and whites can’t manage to walk the same streets without one race thinking the other is going to attack at any given moment due to the misconceptions floating around in their heads, then America really isn’t a land of diversity. It then becomes a land of hierarchy. As he says, Staples is too scared to even wield a knife at a chicken, let alone wield a knife at another human being, but by the color of his skin and appearance, one would never know this. Being perceived as dangerous, he writes, is a hazard in itself, and could easily land him in the back of a police car
Many people in the United States have either experienced or witnessed some form of discrimination in their lifetimes, and one person, in particular, was Brent Staples, an African-American man who lived in New York during the mid-1970’s, which was not too long after the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s. Racial tensions in the United States were still considerably high back then, and this led to racism and discrimination towards others based on their social statuses such as race, class, and gender, and Staples himself has dealt with this issue numerous times in the past, which inspired him to write and to share his own thoughts and experiences about this controversial topic. He believed that even though black men were statistically more likely to get convicted of crimes than any other racial or minority group, it didn’t mean that all black men were violent criminals. He chose to format his writing into a personal essay for his story to have a more personal tone to it that anyone who reads it can easily relate to. The purpose of this text was to raise public awareness of the unfair discrimination in a society that Staples, along with many others, had encountered time and time again. It was written for both the general public and anyone who has also experienced discrimination to use as motivation to try to better themselves and make people realize that not all of them fit the stereotypes that society has set towards certain minority groups. In his text, Just Walk on By, Brent